Young Screech Owl

 

Red Phase

 

Gray Phase





Photos: Erich Neupert


EASTERN SCREECH OWL

Eastern Screech Owl
Otus asio

The Eastern Screech Owl is a permanent resident of north Texas. They are the most common owl found in north Texas.   There are a number of color morphs in Screech Owls ranging from red to gray. Depending upon the area of the country, the ratio of color changes. In Texas, the majority are gray, in the eastern United States the majority are red.

 

Species information:

Length:            8”
Wingspan:       20”
Weight:           4 – 6 oz.

Plumage:  Range of colors from gray to red. Many colors in between can be found that are considered ‘brown phase’.  Very streaked all over with distinct yellow eyes. They have feather tufts, used for camouflage, on top of their head.  Nestlings are downy gray.

Habitat: Found in wooded areas.

Flight:  Perch and pounce hunters.  Very quick and quiet in flight and rarely seen.

Vocalization:  Two distinct calls that are very soft. The first is a long trill on the same note. This call is usually a communication between Screech Owls. The second is a descending whinny that sounds like a horse whinny. This call usually means the bird is irritated in some way, by an intruder in its territory or even a human coming too close.

Food:  Favorite food is large cockroaches, will eat mice also.

Nesting:  Found in the cavities of trees. Occasionally they will use nest boxes 15 ft. up. They usually lay 4-5 eggs that are incubated for about 26 days. Young fledge in about 4 weeks but remain dependant on parents for another 8 weeks.

 


 

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